Sever's Disease

Severs Disease, also called calcaneal apophysitis, is a condition in which the growth plate at the back of the heel becomes inflamed and painful. It affects children and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 13 and is most common during or after a growth spurt and in children that are very physically active. During the adolescent growth spurt the muscles and tendons of the calf can become very tight, and as a result put extra pressure on the calcaneal growth plate, resulting in inflammation and pain.

Common Symptoms

  • Pain at the back of one, or often both, heels
  • Pain is worse with running, jumping and walking
  • Pain is eased by rest
  • The back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon meets the heel bone, is tender to touch
  • Swelling over the back of the heel

Self Management

  • Rest from aggravating sports or activities until you have seen your physiotherapist
  • Apply ice to the back of the heel regularly
  • Wear supportive, comfortable shoes

Physiotherapy Management

  • The physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment to identify any musculoskeleletal factors that may be contributing to the problem
  • Manual therapy may include massage, myofascial release, mobilisations, ice therapy and taping
  • You will be given a comprehensive home exercise program that will include stretches for any tight structures, strengthening exercises, regular icing and advice on activity modification
  • Incorrect foot biomechanics can contribute to server’s disease, so the physiotherapist will assess your gait and foot posture and prescribe custom orthotics if necessary
  • The physiotherapist will offer advice on appropriate timing for return to sport, and provide an ongoing management plan for the remainder of the sport season, to help minimise the chance of recurrence.